Arlington, VA

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

After traveling back and forth from Australia to Arlington six times in one year, Duane Rivett his team at Fivecast came to a realization — they needed a permanent US presence, and Arlington was the perfect fit.

“Almost a month ago,” Rivett said, “I packed everything up and moved my family to Arlington to open our space in Ballston.”

Fivecast uses its artificial intelligence software, Fivecast Insights, to mine through publicly available data and extract potential threats in terrorism or cybersecurity. It has clients in the fields of law enforcement, defense, and national intelligence.

“We can’t disclose our clients,” Rivett said, “But we have a federal agency as a customer, and being close to tech-heavy areas such as Reston, Herndon, Sterling — it’s great.”

The company was founded in 2017 as a spin-off from Australia’s Data to Decisions Cooperative Research Centre. In July, Fivecast secured $2.6 million in venture capital funding, which was used for its international expansion into Arlington.

“Fivecast is a perfect example of what can be produced at the intersection of local technology driven industries like defense and a thriving deep technology ecosystem – high growth, global businesses that will retain and create skilled jobs and expertise in [Arlington],” said investor Dr. Elaine Stead in a statement.

Going forward, Rivett says he’s going to continue to work with a recruitment agency to expand Fivecast’s presence in Arlington — and getting his family, including two kids now in Arlington Public Schools — acclimated to America.

“It’s different for sure, but the kids really enjoyed getting to celebrate Halloween,” Rivett said. “That was a great time.”

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Rosslyn-based Airside Mobile, a travel app developer founded a decade ago by a pair of former TSA employees, is making national headlines thanks to a bit of timely research.

With the busy holiday travel season getting underway, Airside Mobile released a study, using data from Customs and Border Protection, ranking Thanksgiving passenger wait times for international arrivals at the 25 busiest international airports in the U.S.

The study is on-brand for Airside Mobile and its flagship Mobile Passport app, which “speeds you through U.S. Customs and Border Protection at 30+ airports and cruise ports.” Here’s what company said about the study:

It’s well established that Thanksgiving is one of the busiest air travel periods of the year. Each year, there is lots of commentary around the domestic travel volume, but little attention is given to the international travel volume which also experiences a spike around Thanksgiving. Upon arriving to the U.S. from international destinations, all passengers must pass through U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s clearance process. A passenger’s wait time for this clearance process is highly variable and driven by factors including volume of arriving passengers, number of open CBP processing booths, citizenship status, and the use of Global Entry or Mobile Passport Control. Using CBP’s Airport Wait Time tool, we analyzed 12 days of Thanksgiving 2018’s travel window (11/16/18 – 11/27/18) to predict the busiest days and times of Thanksgiving 2019’s travel window (11/22/19 – 12/2/18) at 25 of the highest volume airports.

Phoenix Sky Harbor, San Jose (Calif.), Baltimore-Washington, Charlotte Douglas and Philadelphia international airports ranked No. 1-5 respectively, while Newark, Miami and San Francisco were at the bottom of the list.

Washington Dulles ranked No. 6, with an average wait for U.S. citizens of 4 minutes. No. 3-ranked Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) reported an average wait of 3 minutes.

So far the wait time study has been reported by CNBC (“Flying this Thanksgiving? Here’s how long you’ll wait at immigration and security”) and USA Today (“Thanksgiving travel: Airports with the shortest and longest customs lines”).

“We’re seeing a small trend during the Thanksgiving window, with a lot of folks taking advantage of the long weekend to go abroad,” Patrick Merfert, Airside’s vice president of marketing, is quoted as saying by CNBC. “We wanted to see what it was going to look like when they arrived back home.”

“You tend to see a lot of smaller airports performing quite well, which is partially due to lower traffic, but you also see some larger airports punching above their weight,” Merfert also said, per the financial news network’s article. “Washington Dulles is ranking quite well despite having moderately high traffic.”

Crunching data and producing interesting infographics or rankings, then pitching the results to journalists, is a well-established way for companies to try to earn free media coverage. While many rankings never go beyond a press release, Airside Mobile was able to capitalize on public interest in holiday travel to pick up coverage from major outlets.

It’s not the only PR win for the company. CNBC also reported in August that Mobile Passport “makes clearing US airport immigration and customs a breeze,” following the release of the company’s premium service, dubbed Mobile Passport plus.

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

(Updated at 1:45 p.m.) Startups in Arlington and the D.C. area need to take “bigger swings” if the region hopes to become a tech hub like Silicon Valley.

That’s the message from a panel discussion hosted by DCA Live earlier this month at Marymount University in Ballston.

At the Big DCA Growth Summit, panels of investors, founders, academics and other innovators reflected on Arlington’s big Amazon HQ2 win and what might be ahead for the area.

Amazon’s presence, with its forthcoming office campus in Pentagon City and some 25,000 planned jobs, will help bring excitement and more business diversity to a local tech scene that’s heavy on government contractors and cybersecurity firms.

“I’m honestly convinced that Jeff Bezos was looking for a place that had less hype around it,” said Mark Walsh, a local angel investor. “D.C. is begging for more attention for the good stuff it does outside of the government.”

If Amazon could bring with it more of a West Coast tech mindset, panelists said, it could help the D.C. area better compete with Silicon Valley’s tech ecosystem and generate more billion-dollar “unicorns.” More big startup investment wins would, in turn, help fuel investments in more startups — a virtuous cycle.

“Too many companies in the Mid-Atlantic — the exits were good but only a couple hundred million dollars,” said Scott Frederick of Rosslyn-based Sands Capital. “We need to take bigger swings and get more billion dollar companies like Cvent and EVERFI. Entrepreneurs in this region should think bigger. In the Valley they go to restaurants and park next to Bugattis — it’s a different mindset.”

(There’s another argument to be made, however, for not running an otherwise healthy business into the ground in an effort to become a unicorn when it could be a profitable multi-million dollar company.)

Frederick said, as others have noted in the past, that there’s a bit of gap between seed funding for early startups and growth capital for more mature companies. Those seeking Series A and B rounds, between the seed and later rounds, sometimes struggle to find it from investors, hurting the region’s tech ecosystem.

Funding hasn’t been a problem for at least one local startup co-founder, who recently raised $8 million, with more on the way. Eman Pahlevani, co-founder of Rosslyn-based catering marketplace Hungry, said that the affluent D.C. area is particularly good for those seeking early funding from angel investors.

“D.C. has one of the most robust angel communities. You can raise money fairly quickly in D.C. just by having relationships with angels,” said Pahlevani, who was also a cofounder of Livesafe. “If you’re successful here, word spreads quickly. It’s easier and quicker to raise money here than on the West Coast, and I’ve done both. I just think the opportunities here are immense.”

Another local asset: lots of people who are in a position to help local startups.

“Entrepreneurship is a contact sport,” said France Hoang, co-founder of Tysons-based BoodleAI. “As in, [personal] contacts. This is where my network was.”

Hoang said a key to bigger startup exits is finding fearless startup founders who can take risks and handle the dark “WFIO” moments that many startups experience — as in, “we’re f–ked, it’s over.” Pahlevani agreed.

“We’ve had our WFIO moments,” said Pahlevani, who added that part of startup success is in motivating one’s team and not lamenting the challenges. “There’s a lot of time spent building internal momentum, celebrating the smallest wins and building team momentum. Everyone working with you needs to believe it’s going to happen. Get your rocketship going. Get everyone on board.”

Read More

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Three years after it first launched, Arlington-based catering marketplace Hungry has all but outgrown its Rosslyn office.

That’s despite the startup moving to Rosslyn after outgrowing its former Clarendon office. This time around, the company plans to stay put, neighborhood-wise, when trading up to a larger space.

“Once that time comes, and it’s coming soon, we’re not going to leave Rosslyn,” said Hungry co-founder Eman Pahlevani. “The area’s been too good to us.”

Over the course of 2018 and 2019, Hungry has expanded into a number of new cities: Atlanta, Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City, with plans to also open in Los Angeles next year.

“We launched New York City about five weeks ago,” Pahlevani said. “It’s skyrocketed and the journey has treated us nicely. We have over 150 executive chefs working for us now.”

Hungry operates as an online catering platform, with a mission of making it easy to provide catered food to offices and meetings that people actually want to eat. Office managers are matched with area chefs, who in turn provide a full catering menu starting at $12 per person.

In addition, Hungry donates a meal for every two meals served.

“We’re expecting to reach 500,000 meals donated by the end of November, so that’s a really good feeling for us,” Pahlevani said.

Pahlevani said it’s rewarding to gain new customers, chefs and employees as the business grows and expands to new places.

“The business is taking on a national network effect, and it’s been really good to see,” Pahlevani told ARLnow. “A year ago we had 25 full-time workers, and now we’re up to 85.”

In April, the company raised $8 million during its Series A funding round, with prominent investors including groups led by musicians Usher and Jay-Z.

The startup plans to enter its B-round of funding by early next year as a result of growing interest from more investors. Among the A-listers that might be part of the Series B: Will Smith, Pharrell, and LeBron James.

“At first they just write checks,” Pahlevani said of the celebrity investors at a recent DCA Live event, but if the company is growing, “they start to get more involved” and bring on more friends as investors.

“They also help us launch in the markets they’re in, and they want to bring LA on board,” he added.

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Kurt Luther, an assistant professor of history and computer science at Virginia Tech, is well acquainted with the capabilities of artificial intelligence technology, recently launching an AI program used to rediscover lost identities in Civil War photographs.

Now, based out of the Virginia Tech Research Center (900 N. Glebe Road), Luther has moved onto his next project: GroundTruth.

Lead by Luther and Virginia Tech PhD student Sukrit Venkatagiri, the National Science Foundation-funded project utilizes AI software to narrow down the geolocation of any photograph, taken anywhere in the world.

During a presentation at the Virginia Tech Research Center on “The Future of AI and What it Means for Humans,” Luther showcased how his group of 11 expert researchers, along with 567 crowdsource workers, used GroundTruth to narrow down a framed shot taken from a video of a terrorist organization to its location with 98% accuracy.

“We’re in our third phase now,” Luther said, “Where we’re asking investigators, like journalists, to use the software for their real work to see how well it works in the wild, if you will.”

On November 11, Kurt and Venkatagiri will present the software at the Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2019 conference in Austin, Texas.

Once finalized, Luther hopes the software will not only be used by investigative journalists, but by professionals in law enforcement and national security.

“In those cases, the time pressures are similar, and the stakes are potentially even higher, so it’s extra important we get it right and through our studies with journalists, we’re learning,” he said.

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

If you’ve dined in D.C. at Jose Andres’ minibar, Johnny Spero’s Reverie, or Robert Wiedmaier’s Marcel’s, chances are you sampled produce grown in Arlington.

It’s no secret that interest in urban farming has skyrocketed in recent years, however Arlington-based Fresh Impact remains the county’s only commercial urban farm.

Tucked in an unassuming strip mall on Lee Highway, with no signage or disclosed address, Fresh Impact is under the radar of most Arlingtonians, but well-known among local chefs, particularly higher-end chefs.

Founded in 2017, the company has grown over 300 different rare herbs, varieties of greens, and edible flowers based on the needs of the local restaurant industry.

“One of the primary reasons we located in Arlington was to be as close to D.C., and our customer base, as possible,” said founder Ryan Pierce.

“Being able to grow indoors, not only is it sustainable but our produce is free from pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides,” Pierce said.

At any given time, employees at Fresh Impact are maintaining between 30 to 40 varieties of produce depending on the season. Despite this, the farm still has room to grow and add more products.

“We’re hoping to sell out completely by the end of 2020, we want to get to where we simply can’t grow anymore,” Pierce said. “When that happens, then we’ll look at opportunities to expand our operations to other facilities and look to provide more local products to other restaurants.”

The company has grown primarily via word of mouth, through recommendations from chefs to other chefs. Everything is harvested and delivered to the restaurants on the same day to maintain maximum freshness.

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

When serial entrepreneur Alecia Vimala couldn’t find a way to directly purchase a product from a social media feed without being redirected to another website, she decided to build a way to do so herself.

Peercrate operates as a social commerce platform in which users create either a public or private profile, post social photos and tag the items they’re wearing or using. When other users see a post, they can easily learn the details of the tagged items, such as the brand and the price, and add it to their cart within the app.

“It’s like Snapchat meets Amazon,” said Vimala, who moved to Arlington from Nashville, Tennessee this month to be closer with other like-minded startups.

Within the next two to three months, Vimala says, they expect to run the app through a round of private beta testing, during which they will onboard a few hundred people per week. Anyone who is interested can sign up for a waitlist, and they’ll be emailed a link where they can download the product.

For users who don’t want to use the app as a social media platform but still want to shop, they can scroll through public profiles for inspiration.

“For instance, if someone wants to find a pair of sunglasses, they can search for it and everyone with a public profile who has posted a pair of sunglasses will pop up,” said Vimala.

Previously, Vimala founded a similar platform, ALECIA, which allows users to shop for clothes they see while seeing television and movies.

Once public, Peercrate will be available for iOS and Android.

Photo (top) via Twitter

0 Comments

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Most people use facial recognition technology, a fingerprint reader, or a four-digit password to unlock their phones. Some go even further with two-step authentication. And as we continue to integrate crucial information into our phones such as account passwords and bank cards, SensiPass CEO Mike Hill realized people should use a three-step verification password for maximum security — and his startup was born.

SensiPass works as an interactive password that utilizes user-specific biometric imagery for maximum protection.

In order to unlock a phone, SensiPass scans a QR code or a number pattern, analyzes a unique physical object (i.e. a face), and finally, the user draws a distinct pattern over the object to create their 3-factor “digital signature.”

A demonstration can be seen in the video below.

It sounds complicated, but Hill told ARLnow that it takes up to six seconds, maximum, and provides top-notch security.

“It’s virtually impossible to fake or share with others, and this is for everyday people,” Hill said. “With Snapchat, you draw on your selfie as a means of social expression. On SensiPass, you would use your face as a three-factor authentication.”

“When we first started on the product, we realized the consumer wouldn’t be ready for it because it was just so different from the password they were used to,” Hill said. “But it’s far more secure than anything out there.”

Once finalized, the patented product is expected to be be available for both iPhone and Android users.

In 2014, after failing to secure initial funding in the states, SensiPass headquartered itself in Ireland. Recently, the team opened a subsidiary office in Clarendon in order to be closer to partners working in cybersecurity and counterterrorism.

Here in Arlington, Hill said they’re looking to work with more investors in the area before launching the official product.

0 Comments

Startup Monday header

Editor’s Note: Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

DivvyCloud, an Arlington startup specializing in cloud-based cybersecurity, is planning to more than double in size with a move into a new much larger new headquarters in Courthouse.

It’s is far from the only cybersecurity company working in Arlington, but DivvyCloud carved out a niche as a cloud-focused security option that not only fixes gaps in security coverage but makes it easier for a company to see where its security is weakest.

Today (Monday) the company moved into a new 13,000 square foot office at 2111 Wilson Blvd, an office over six-times larger than its old 2,000 square foot office in Rosslyn. In a press release, CEO and co-founder Brian Johnson said the office expansion is a result of adding new employees, with more expected down the road.

“[Since 2018] the company has grown from 20 to 55 local employees — an increase of 175 percent — and plans to reach at least 120 employees within the next year,” Johnson said.

The company has netted some sizable investments over the last year, along with new contracts with customers from Pizza Hut to Fannie Mae. In an email to ARLnow, Johnson said the expansion is justified by an increasing need in cloud-based coverage — particularly in light of recent major data breaches.

“In our recent report, we found that 77% percent of respondents reported having two or more clouds, yet less than half of respondents were able to accurately identify the risk of misconfiguration in public cloud as higher than the risk in traditional IT environments,” Johnson said. “Countless major data breaches, including Honda and Capital One, have been caused by misconfigurations just in 2019 alone. As a result, more and more companies are realizing the need for an effective solution to prevent misconfigurations and properly secure cloud and container infrastructure.”

0 Comments

Startup Monday header

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.com, Startup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

Fresh off a win at the Small Biz Challenge, Arlington startup Boolean Girl is now headed is to Nationwide’s “Pitch to Win” contest as a finalist.

The company sells classroom kits aimed at getting young women interested in coding as part of an effort to combat the gender disparity in the tech industry.

The Pitch to Win competition is scheduled for Oct. 3 and includes an all-expenses-paid trip to the insurance company’s headquarters in Ohio, where the groups will present their business proposals to a panel of judges. The winning business will be awarded $100,000, with the runner up receiving $20,000 and third place earning $10,000.

Co-founder Ingrid Sanden said the winnings from Pitch to Win would help the company expand into middle-school-age sets.

“Winning the Pitch To Win competition would propel Boolean Girl Tech’s efforts to keep middle school girls engaged and excited about moving from basic coding to complex, real-world projects,” said Sanden. “Typically, there is a dramatic drop off in participation in STEM and computer science classes in middle school, so bridging the gap from elementary to high school and beyond is a crucial step as we close the gender gap in STEM careers.”

Boolean Girl will be competing with six other companies from across the country, from a skateboard grip tape business to a company that makes AI-enabled digital stethoscopes.

Boolean Girl launched in 2014 around the same time Google’s lack of diversity was making headlines. Since then, the company has developed a build-it-yourself box set for $169.99 and a kit that including ten boxes, ten monitors and a variety of accessories for $5,000. The company also offers a coding summer camp in Arlington.

Photo courtesy Boolean Girl

0 Comments

Sponsored by Monday Properties and written by ARLnow.comStartup Monday is a weekly column that profiles Arlington-based startups and their founders, plus other local technology happenings. The Ground Floor, Monday’s office space for young companies in Rosslyn, is now open. The Metro-accessible space features a 5,000-square-foot common area that includes a kitchen, lounge area, collaborative meeting spaces, and a stage for formal presentations.

(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) What do you get when you take a patent lawyer with a background in mechanical engineering and you add a passion for cycling?

It turns out you get AirLock, the world’s first all-in-one bike pump and lock brainstormed by Arlington local Joe Edell.

Together with his sister, Joe founded the startup Edellocks in March with the goal of eliminating the hassle of carrying a separate air pump along with a bike lock.

“It’s a patented idea I came up with in 2015, and we’re confident that our current version is that best we’re gonna get,” said Edell, who manufactured the design utilizing 3D-printing technology.

It took Edell 20-plus prototypes to get the design right, resulting in an ultra-lightweight product that weighs a little over a pound. The final product will be manufactured in Taiwan, while Edell and his sister will work on marketing, packaging, and shipping from a home in Pentagon City.

Customers have the option of selecting an AirLock with either of the common Schrader or Presta air valves.

It took a bit of trial and error to find the right customer base for the AirLock, because uber-passionate cyclists often have high-end bikes that require specialty pump valves. However, Edell hopes the product will end up in stores like REI and local bike shops.

“A lot of people who would be interested in this we would call ‘casual cyclists,’ so we need to work hard to make sure the price and the product is right,” said Edell.

Currently, the product is in its Kickstarter stage, with less than two weeks to go. As of today (Friday), AirLock has earned $7,791 with a goal of $20,000.

Those interested can either pledge any minimum to support the startup, or $58 or more, which gets you the finished product.

0 Comments
×

Subscribe to our mailing list